I have always very much wanted that any understanding I have, be rooted in experience, so that my understanding isn’t merely concepts held within my mind, like words from a book, but that it also infuses my whole being, so that my understanding is empirical and ontological knowledge—somehow living and alive within me.
So when I saw a man holding a sign this morning which said: “Jesus Saves” I considered for a long while what this really means. If I were to hold up a sign that said this, what would I mean by it? If someone asked me what I meant by holding up this sign, what would I say, how exactly would I follow up this statement that ‘Jesus Saves’? With what explanation would I try to explain it, one that reaches the empirical and ontological dimension of our understanding? Could I even do this?
If I were dead, I expect I should have a more complete experiential understanding of salvation in Jesus, but I’m not yet dead. Though if I were, I wouldn’t be able to explain it to anyone here anyway. So what does this mean, and how can it be known, here and now, that ‘Jesus Saves’?
I believe that ‘Jesus Saves’ means the freedom to resist and overcome our bad habits, sins, and our acts and thoughts of un-love in all their forms; and it means the peace of forgiveness when we are unable to do so, and forgiveness of others when they also are unable.
I believe that ‘Jesus Saves’ is the end of fear of my neighbor, of every neighbor, and of every other person, and the beginning of love for all of creation, even those who hurt me or have hurt me. It yields within us the courage to be, to live, and to give of ourselves sacrificially; Jesus gives us the courage and the freedom to live our lives for others and not solely for ourselves.
Jesus Saves me from myself, and gives me freedom to live for Him. And this means that I can live in patience and acceptance of all things, at peace and in joy, enduring the pains and difficulties of this life with gentleness and equanimity.
He saves us from the hell that we create for ourselves; He saves us from earthly hell which is easy to perceive, and then from eternal hell which we cannot perceive as yet.